Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $5 Million to Tackle Amazon Rainforest Fires | 22 Words

For the past three weeks, one of the biggest natural resources that our dying planet has left has been slowly being decimated by flame - and much of the media haven't even reported on it. The Amazon Rainforest, located primarily in Brazil in South America, is one of the largest areas of biodiversity. Not only that, but the sheer amount of plant life there has led to it gaining the nickname "the lungs of the world."

But, for the past twenty days, this stunning (and essential) part of the world has been under siege by a truly enormous and destructive forest fire. Horrifying photos show the extent of the disaster. And some suspect that this tragedy is far from accidental. With all this controversy surrounding the issue, it's nice to know that there are some big-name celebrities doing their bit to help, even if the world's most prominent leaders aren't.

Located in the north of South America, the Amazon Rainforest is an outstanding area in nature.

via: Getty Images

Not only is it known for being visually incredible, but the area supports some of the widest varieties of wildlife on Earth. Plus, the sheer amount of carbon dioxide inhaling plants there means that it helps to clean the air for the entire planet.

But, for many years, the Amazon has been in trouble.

via: Getty Images

Large areas of the beautiful natural area have been destroyed for human gain, either for the building of roads, the farming of cattle, or simply to make more space for towns and cities.

But the most recent destruction of the Amazon is perhaps the most galling.

For many days at this point, the Amazon Rainforest has been rampaged by an enormous and terrifying forest fire. As of yet, the causes are unknown - but it's frightening that such a humid area has managed to burn for quite so long.

For some reason, this fire hasn't attracted many headlines.

But now people on the internet are taking matters into their own hands, trying to spread the news of the destruction before it's too late.

The news has started to gain traction.

And many truly horrifying images have been shared online. There are now fears that we may end up losing all, or most of, the absolutely enormous forest.

Every minute that the fire burns...

We lose another huge area of the Amazon. And once it's gone, the forest as we know it will never come back. This means that there should be a real sense of urgency.

But the burning forest snaps aren't the only horrific images shared.

Because, as the blaze rages on, the effects that the huge fire is having across the entire continent are becoming clear.

And some of the most terrifying pictures?

Many Twitter users are sharing shots that they've taken in the city of Sao Paolo. The sheer amount of ash in the sky is essentially blocking out the sunlight.

The shots look like something from a horror film.

The fact that the fire has released this much smoke into the atmosphere is worrying enough - even when you don't consider the destruction of those millions of all-important trees.

But there's a more immediate worry.

Many now believe that Sao Paolo and other major cities in Brazil and South America are essentially uninhabitable. We can't imagine that breathing in that dark, smoky air is in any way healthy.

Just look at this.

One Sao Paolo resident decided to test the theory, taking a clear plastic water bottle outside to collect some of the air. This black gas is what the people of the city are expected to breathe in.

Locals have shared other frightening images.

Including this one, with the caption: "This is the color of the rainwater that fell here in Mauá."

Here's another.

"Folks ... did you see that it rained black water ?? Seriously no kidding! So the sky was very strange ... gospel."

And some have pointed out this worrying fact.

Many assume that Sao Paolo is close to the Amazon Rainforest - but this isn't really the case. The sheer distance that this disaster has covered should be alarming us.

And, now, NASA has shared yet more horrifying images.

via: NASA

These pictures show the sheer volume of smoke that's been released into the atmosphere - along with the great distances that it has spread to and covered.

Many believed that the Amazon was essentially fireproofed.

via: NASA

The fact that it's a rainforest gives us a clue as to how much humidity and moisture it contained. The fact that it's burning up like kindling is truly shocking.

But environmental changes over the years left it vulnerable.

via: NASA

One huge attributing factor to this fire's power is the number of droughts that the area has experienced over the years. On top of this, Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has ignored pleas to take better care of the region.

There are other huge worries, too.

The Amazon Rainforest contains some of the largest animal diversity on Earth - so alongside the loss of trees and plants, millions of animals are being burned alive.

There seems to be little coming back from this.

It took literally millions of years for the Amazon to evolve into the naturally biodiverse area that it is - and it's gone from that to a complete wasteland in a matter of days.

And this isn't the only crisis that we're facing.

But as our planet falls apart and the powers that be continue to ignore it, it starts to feel more and more hopeless. Massive systemic change needs to happen - and soon - if we want life on Earth to continue.

Many are concerned about one man in particular.

via: Getty Images

Since he came to power, the extremely right-wing President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has voiced some pretty worrying opinions about the environment.

He's a man known for prioritizing profit.

And some of his campaign promises revolved around making Brazil more economically powerful. The problem is that he appears not to care about the other costs of making money.

Which means that he's more than happy to destroy the Amazon for money.

Many cattle ranchers are keen to purchase large areas of rainforest land in order to raise cows for meat. The problem is, once the rainforest is gone, it will never grow back.

But that doesn't seem to matter to Bolsonaro.

And many are suspicious that, rather than any sort of accidental forest fire, the blazes raging in the Amazon right now are a deliberate act of deforestation for profit.

Which is a pretty frightening thought.

The idea that someone would prioritize money over life on Earth seems hard to comprehend. But it also means action by the rest of the world is all the more urgent.

Others suspect that things run even deeper.

Some conspiracy theorist view these fires as, not just a move for profit, but a deliberate attack on indigenous people.

And some want institutional action to be taken.

If these fires are deliberate, then someone (or a group of people) are responsible. It's reprehensible that there's not been any sort of investigation thus far.

Because, more than just affecting innocent animals and indigenous people...

The destruction of the Amazon is something that will have an adverse effect globally. Some have even proposed it to be something of an early indicator of the apocalypse. Cheery stuff, we know.

And one indigenous woman has spoken out.

In a video posted to Twitter, she proclaims: "For 2 years we’ve fought to preserve [our reservation] and these assholes came in and burned it down. They are killing our rivers, our sources of life, and now they have set our reserve on fire. Tomorrow we are closing the roads and I want all the media here to see this."

So, is there any hope to be gleaned from this story?

Well, if anything, it's the way that the world is slowly coming together in order to put an end to this horror.

And it seems as if the news has now spread all the way to Leonardo Dicaprio.

via: Getty Images

The star-studded actor has pledged to donate 5 million dollars to aid the efforts to put out the horrific fires.

He made the announcement through "Earth Alliance."

On Sunday, Dicaprio used this environmental foundation to raise awareness about the issue. He, along with two other philanthropists, set up "The Amazon Forest Fund" so that people can also donate to the cause.

This isn't the first time that he has done his bit for the environment...

It seems as though Dicaprio has become a prominent figure in the fight against climate change. Last year alone, his other charity organization, known as "The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation," raised over 100 million dollars for the cause.

Leo made sure that all of his followers knew how important this fight is.

He wrote on the foundation's website: "When I founded LDF twenty years ago, I did so based on the simple idea that we could make a real difference by directly funding some of the most effective environmental projects."

So, join the fight!

By raising awareness about the issue, we've reached a halfway point. Now it's time for action. Stand up against climate change, exactly as Leo has, and save what's left of our planet. And if you're looking for a little inspiration on how you can do that, here are fifty very little things that you can do. Every little helps!